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Conversion issue: Modi dismisses as media hype

Delhi Archbishop Anil JT Couto along with other Christian delegates met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and raised their concerns over the conversion issue in the name of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ and attacks on churches.

In the afternoon a team of 10 delegates called upon the PMO and sought an appointment with Modi to wish him Merry Christmas. PM too greeted them and advised them not to believe media reports on conversion and other controversial communal issues.

“The issue is nothing but a creation of media. It was a hype created by the media and don’t take them seriously,” PM reportedly has said the Christian delegates led by the Archbishop. Though PM kept silence over the issue in Parliament despite repeated protest by the opposition in the winter session, but on Wednesday he broke his silence but in a close-door interaction with the delegates.
It has been learnt that the delegates were not satisfied with PM’s assurance over their concern. They are still apprehensive about more attacks on them and their churches in near future. They are also worried over their security on Christmas, which the government has decided to celebrate ‘Good Governance Day’.

Talking about why he remained silence over the issue, Modi reportedly told them that he is not like other Prime Ministers. “Whatever I have to say, I have already said. Whether you like me or not, but I will continue to serve, as I said Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikash (with everyone, for everyone’s development),” he told the delegates.

Speaking to Millennium Post, spokesperson Delhi Catholic Archdiocese Savarimuthu Sankar said, “It is the responsibility of the government to ensure dignity and safety of every citizen in this country. Today (Wednesday), we met PM and we expect that he will consider every single citizen of the country equally. Even though we met PM today but a sense of insecurity and fear is still there and we want government to do the needful.”

Recently, in the wake of recent attacks on churches across India and row over celebrating ‘Good Governance Day’ on Christmas, Delhi Archbishop said that the Christian communities are not in favour of any anti-conversion law as vouched by the NDA government.

Citing reason on why Christian communities are not in favour of such legislation, Archbishop had said, “Whether someone will be converted or not, is purely a matter of personal choice, which is allowed as per the Constitution. Then, why do we need a separate Bill for ensuring “Freedom of religion’ or banning conversions? Christians are not in favour of any such law,” Archbishop had said.

Recently, Opposition parties cornered the government in Parliament for allowing RSS and its affiliates to go ahead with their conversion and ‘Ghar Wapsi’ campaigns. Then, the government had told Lok Sabha that it was in favour of anti-conversion laws in all states and at the Centre too.

The other delegates who met the PM were: Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, Bishop of Faridabad Eparchy, Bishop Jacob Mar Barnabas, Apostolic Visitator of Syro-Malankara Catholics, Rev. Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, Editor, The Word Among Us, Rev. Vijesh Lal, Secretary, Evangelical Fellowship of India, Sr. Nirmalini, Principal, Carmel Convent School, Dr. Michael Williams, Dean, Mount Carmel, School, Jenis Francis, Federation Catholic Associations, Delhi and Aparna Babu, Indian Catholic Youth Movement.

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